August 16, 2005
Everybody wants to know ...
By GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling

Press conferences can be deathly dull affairs, especially when they are aimed at promoting some corporate agenda. Then there are WWE press conferences.

Full of colourful characters who are unafraid to speak their minds (often causing panic in the public relation flacks), WWE press conferences usually have fans along with the media. It may not allow SLAM! Wrestling to get every question answered, but it does give us a chance to share some of the quips that came up.

These question and answer sessions come from the WWE 24/7 press conference on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 in Toronto, which promoted the launch of the subscription video on demand product on Rogers digital. Some are from the fan Q&A, some are from the media scrum.

So here we go with another edition of "Everybody wants to know..."

If you could chose one person to wrestle today, who would it be?

RODDY PIPER: "Vince McMahon Jr., especially after I got that last WrestleMania paycheque! I'm always getting fired when I say things like that. HBO - Hard-Boiled Oiled. I tell what would be fun, that Batista, Triple H and myself and go for it until there's a winner. I think that might draw."


Who was your favorite person to manage?

BOBBY HEENAN: "They were all different. There was nobody like Andre [the Giant]. There was nobody like Mr. Perfect. There was nobody like Paul Orndorff. There was nobody like Ken Patera. There was nobody like Nick Bockwinkel. There was nobody like Ray Stevens, Pat Patterson, Harley Race. I really had a crew of guys that were really wonderful. And everybody over the years, from the '60s until I quit managing in '91, they were all different people. I enjoyed everyone of them. Blackjack Lanza and the Blackjacks. They were all extraordinary people and I'm glad they were in my life. But I think I probably had the most fun with Ric Flair."

Was the coconut pre-cracked that you hit Jimmy Snuka with?

RODDY PIPER: "I'll tell you exactly how that happened. The short version is, Piper's Pit was in its early stages. I'm going out and Chief Jay Strongbow hands me a brown paper bag with bananas, pineapples and coconuts in it. He says, 'Go for it.' I'm with Snuka, and 'here's a banana for your Fijian climbing trees, here's a pineapple for you, so you eat at the luau.' ... I get to the coconut. I drop it on the table. I look at Jimmy like, 'Are you sure about this?' I dropped another one. Then I asked myself the dumbest question I ever asked myself, 'Does Jimmy know how heavy a coconut is?' He's from Fiji, Rod! Brother, like Nolan Ryan, I wailed back and I just nailed him and it just exploded. Jimmy has never been the same."

Any chance of seeing Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling on DVD or 24/7?

TOM BARRECA, WWE VP: "We're working on it! It originally cleared in the late '80s on TV, mid-to-late '80s. It made a brief stint in video in the late '90s. But it's on my radar screen. I'll leave it at that."

Who was better in their prime, Lex Luger or Sting?

RODDY PIPER: "Sting because Lex Luger was more of a bodybuilder. He was very strong, he would powerslam you, he could hold on to you. But Sting was much more agile and he had a much grasp on the leverage of what you do as a wrestler. So I'd have to go with Sting. That's not to knock Lex Luger down. When he was in there with a man of his own strength, he was fantastic. But as far as getting wrestling done, I'd have to go with Sting."

What was André the Giant like?

BOBBY HEENAN: "He was a great person to be around. I remember we used to get on the plane. He used to have a few eyeopeners. So he asked the stewardess. He's trying to pull up the armrest in first class so him and I can have more room. The stewardess comes by, and asks 'What can I get you?' So André says screwdriver. So about 10 minutes later she comes back with a screwdriver, a Black & Decker screwdriver! André says to her, 'What would you have brought me if I'd have said Bloody Mary?' So I said, 'Ma'am, may I speak with you first?' I took her to the galley. I said, 'This is probably going to help your flying career. When a man gets on the plane at 6 a.m., and he's 7-foot-5, and he's drunk, don't bring him tools!'"

Roddy, what do you prefer, the Highlight Reel or Carlito's Cabana?

RODDY PIPER: "Carlito is starting out great. I think he's going to be really good. Jericho's had several shots at it. You know what's missing? They haven't had to get down in the mud, the blood and the beer. They haven't had to get into the trenches. ... But that's an oldtimer being jealous. Hang on, let me back off a bit. I think they're doing real well, and helping the WWE take the entertainment to a whole new place. I give them nothing but credit."

Brain, what's your current health situation?

BOBBY HEENAN: "I'm recovered from cancer. It'll be four years this March. I just had a full knee replacement. Other than that, they gave me an hour-and-a-half to live! ... I asked the doctor, 'How am I doing?' He said, 'Can you pay me in cash?'"


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    Greg Oliver founded SLAM! Wrestling with John Powell way back in 1996, and has been writing about pro wrestling since 1985. His just-published book, The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams (with Steven Johnson) is the second in a series, following The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians. Order them both from the SLAM! Wrestling Store. He can be emailed at goliver845@gmail.com.


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